MHA continues to hound Gujarat cadre IPS Rajnish Rai

Rather than act on the report on fake encounters in the North-East, the MHA is inquiring how the report was leaked to the media

PTI photo
PTI photo

Saurav Datta

Rajnish Rai (IPS) of the Gujarat cadre has been transferred thrice in the last three years. He was first sent to the Uranium Corporation of India at Jadugoda (Jharkhand). Thereafter he was shifted out to the CRPF as IG (North-East) at Shillong and now he has been shunted out to the CRPF’s Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism School (CIAT) at Chittor (Andhra Pradesh).

Rai, who had fallen foul of Amit Shah-Narendra Modi duo in Gujarat after arresting three Gujarat cadre officers including D G Vanzara, was shunted out of the state soon after Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister.

But even at ‘shunting posts’ Rai proved to be a thorn in the flesh, submitting, according to MHA sources, several inconvenient reports. He reportedly fell foul of the powers that be when he exposed corruption in UCIL. But the Government, which claims to have zero tolerance for corruption, reacted by shunting him to Shillong. No action was apparently taken on the report he filed.

Photo courtesy: CRPF website
Photo courtesy: CRPF website
A file photo of IPS officer Rajnish Rai

In Shillong, the IG level officer blew the lid off a staged encounter by Assam Police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal in Assam’s Chirang district. But once again the MHA reacted by not acting on the report but instead initiating an inquiry into how the report got leaked to the media and if the IG was guilty of violating the conditions of his service. He was also given marching orders to move from Shillong in the East to Chittoor in the South.

Pushed to the corner, the officer moved the Principal Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Delhi against the purported inquiry reportedly initiated against him.

His lawyers contended that he was being made to bear the brunt for raising doubts about the paramilitary forces’ claims and termed the inquiry as “exceptionable and unwarranted … instituted with mala fide intent and oblique purpose of harassing, victimising” their client.

Rai informed CAT that he was never formally informed about the inquiry; he came to know of it from selectively leaked media reports. This week CAT gave him the liberty to legally challenge the institution of the inquiry once the government formally informed him about it.

In the petition Advocates Sarim Naved and Vaibhav Srivastav claimed that Rai’s travails started after he submitted his report dated 17 April 2017 to the MHA. In the report, he detailed instances of planned violation of human rights in the north-eastern region of the country by security forces, especially by means of premeditated murder of persons in custody and then projecting such acts as those of bravery and professional achievement. Most disturbingly, these acts are championed as institutional achievements by the army and paramilitary forces.

The report he submitted was not acted upon, and was instead greeted with disapproval.

Soon thereafter, on June 12, he was transferred from Shillong (where he was posted as Inspector General, North East Sector) to the Counter Insurgency and Anti -Terrorism (CIAT) School of the CRPF in Chittoor. No reasons were provided to him for the sudden transfer.

The Directorate General, CRPF, the petition alleged, insinuated in oral conversations that Rai was responsible for the report being leaked to the media. This was done without any prior inquiry and verification of how the media got hold of the report.

The petition went on to allege that the Enquiry Officer gave comments to the national media expressing his disapproval of the report and challenging Rai’s mandate. This, he claims, makes it apparent that there was an ulterior motive in further victimising him by holding him guilty without any inquiry and without giving him a chance to respond to MHA’s doubts.

Rai points to his impeccable credentials – while posted as DIG in Gujarat in 2007, he had arrested three IPS officers charged in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, and in 2015 and 2016 had reported against two suspected cases of staged encounters where the perpetrators had been rewarded by the Directorate General of CRPF.

Professing that he is firmly committed to the truth, the Constitution and human rights, Rai contends that all the values he stood for have been grossly violated by the vindictive action being taken against him.

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